Dealing With Peoples Differences


We’re not all the same



Many years ago I was playing Chi Sau with a student, when he made a comment on the fact that he found someone in class difficult because this guy was FAST and a similar issue was raised regarding another guy who was STRONG.


So I asked him a question,


How would you defeat a boxer, or a kicker, or a grappler?”


The answer I told him?


Not by boxing, kicking or grappling


It’s ok to play someone else’s game in order to try to learn from them, but do not be upset if you cannot defeat them, remember, this is their game, not yours, not yet anyway.


Otherwise you would be rating yourself on something you have not studied yet, and that is unfair self criticism.

Feel free to test their method of Chi Sau, see what’s good about it, and then go to the other end of the spectrum in order to find the weakness within it.


In a fight, if someone has longer arms than you, then you cannot use yours, you use your legs instead, so try to think with this same mentality.


What can I use to get around this problem?


Many people play differently, that’s expected.




Many people play differently with different people, depending on who they are.


Now obviously I do not expect a senior to beat up on a beginner but at the same time I do not like someone going easy on me out of respect, or thinking:


Well, I’m probably not going to get it in anyway’.

If that were the case, we’re just wasting each other’s time!


If we played a game of pool I would expect you to be trying to pot everything, because if you weren’t going to try to pot, but instead just left things open for me, then that game would be doomed from the start.

All this approach will do, is annoy someone, and you’ll get no respect from such an attitude either, it would be a case of:


Are we going to have a game or not?


If you feel ‘Out of respect’ you do not want to hit me…


Well that’s thinking quite highly of yourself isn’t it!

What makes you think you can?

At least try first and fine out!


I encourage students (in Chi Sau I mean) to be a thief.

When I started training with Grandmaster Ip Chun in Hong Kong, over 30 years ago, it was just him and me, in his flat, playing Chi Sau with no interpreter, but then again we didn’t need one, we conversed with our arms.


If he was hitting me with a technique and I looked confused, he would run the same move a couple more times, and then reverse the positions.

Now it was my turn to do the same move on him to see how he defends it.

A couple of attempts later and the positions were reversed again, and by crikey I better had learned to defend it or I would feel it for real. 🙂


Old school learning


So if you play with someone and do not know how to defend what they are doing, DON’T ASK, steal.


Reverse the positions and without them being aware, execute the same move back on them to see their response.

Hey Presto! You’ve got a new approach to training and taken their edge away.


In the UK we had a TV show called, Ready Steady Cook where two contestants would have a limited amount to spend on groceries, each presented to their celebrity chef live, with the chef then suggesting what dish they will make from these ingredients.


Again this is like is like Chi Sau, if your partner uses strength and you do not have strength,




You can only make a dish from what is in your own bag.

If you do not have the ingredients to make your opponents dish, here’s an idea..


Don’t make that dish!


So there you have it.

Differences in Chi Sau are good and let’s not forget, ‘there is no right or wrong, just different‘.


Use what you HAVE in order to defeat them, and if you do want to learn what they are using, don’t ask, steal it.


By all means ask them about their game if it interests you, but try to take it first, this also makes for a much more interesting conversation later.


Thank you.

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